2000-02-12 / Editorial/Opinion

Celebrating Diversity

We all know Rockaway to be a hidden treasure. When we think of Rockaway it's usually about the beach and boardwalk, the lack of congestion, and the many other positive attributes the community offers. One treasure that often goes unrecognized is that we live in a diverse community. With February being Black History Month, there is no better time then now to celebrate the diversity of Rockaway.

Rockaway is the epitome of the "melting pot." You have Jewish and Christian neighbors, Caucasians and Blacks, Latinos and Filipinos, Guyanese and Chinese. Wherever you look, there is diversity. That's what makes Rockaway truly an interesting place to live. And now with the celebration of Black History Month, residents can embrace the activities that spotlight Rockaway's diversity.

This month, on Tuesday, February 15, the Peninsula Branch (99-25 Rockaway Beach Boulevard) of the Queens Borough Public Library will present a shadow puppet play with drums retelling West African folk tales and on Saturday, February 26 there will be a musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jazz vocalist Sandra Birchett. The Arverne Branch (Beach 54 Street) will have singing and dancing to West Indian and African music for the entire family on Wednesday, February 16 and adults can participate in an African craft program on Saturday, February 19.

Rockaway's diversity can also be celebrated by patronizing the many cultural restaurants in the neighborhood. Why not go for a traditional Caribbean or Spanish meal?

Most important is to get kids involved with this celebration. They are our future and it's necessary to teach them about each other--about all people. In today's day and age, this isn't a "hope", it must be a reality. We're neighbors--living together, working together, going to school together, etc. Instead of fearing our differences, we must rejoice in difference. That is the lesson we must pass to our future generation and now is the time!

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